The Canadian Environment Assessment Agency (the
"Agency") has issued a Public Notice regarding proposed
amendments to the Regulations Designating Physical
Activities, SOR/2012-147 (the "Regulations").
The Regulations contain a schedule which sets out the physical
activities that constitute a "designated project" and
consequently may be subject to an environmental assessment under
the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012. The
Regulations also link each designated activity to a federal
authority: either the Agency, the Canadian Nuclear Safety
Commission or the National Energy Board. The proposed
amendments set out a new schedule of designated activities linked
to these federal authorities.
The Agency's Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement indicates
that the objective of the amendments is to ensure that the
Regulations "appropriately reflect those major projects that
have the greatest potential for significant adverse environmental
effects in areas of federal jurisdiction." In accordance
with this objective, the physical activities set out in the
schedule to the Regulations include a description and in most cases
a "threshold" to capture projects of at least a certain
size to ensure that the focus is on major projects. The proposed
amendments also aim to clarify the Regulations, such as that the
environmental assessment of a proposed new project considers the
full life cycle of the project.
Some of the key proposed changes to the physical activities in
the schedule to the Regulations are:
Additions are proposed that would designate the following types
of projects: diamond mines; apatite mines; railway yards;
international and interprovincial bridges and tunnels; bridges that
cross the St-Lawrence Seaway; the first offshore exploratory wells
in Exploration Licence areas; and expansions to oil sands
Deletions are proposed to exclude the following types of
projects: ground water extraction facilities; heavy oil and oil
sands processing facilities; pipelines and electrical transmission
lines not regulated by the NEB; potash mines and other industrial
mineral mines; and industrial facilities.
The threshold for expansions generally would be modified to an
increase of 50 per cent or more in the size of the facility and
that the expanded facility must meet or exceed the threshold for a
new facility of that type.
The threshold storage capacity for liquefied natural gas
storage facilities would be increased from 50,000 t to 55 000 t or
The ore production capacity threshold for rare earth element
mines would be reduced from 3000 tonnes to 600 tonnes per day.
The threshold for mine expansions would be modified to a 50%
increase in the area of mine operations and a resulting mine that
meets the production capacity threshold for a new mine of that
The threshold for pipelines would be reduced from 75 km on new
right-of-way to 40 km of new pipe whether or not it is on new
In addition to the new schedule, the proposed amendments delete,
replace and add definitions. For example, the existing
definitions of "abandonment," "wetland" and
"right-of-way" are removed, while the existing
definitions of "marine terminal" and
"waterbody" are revised. New definitions for
"area of mine operations," "canal,"
"drilling program" and "exploratory well" are
The proposed amendments also set out transitional
provisions. These provisions provide, for instance, that the
amended Regulations would not apply to a physical activity that was
not previously designated if, at the time the amended Regulations
came into force the physical activity had already commenced, a
federal authority had already permitted the physical activity to be
carried out or an environmental assessment of the physical activity
Canada is a constitutional monarchy, a parliamentary democracy and a federation comprised of ten provinces and three territories. Canada's judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches of Government.
The Government of Alberta recently announced a number of policy changes that will impact the Alberta Electricity Market, composed of its generators, transmitters, distributors, retailers, electricity consumers and wholesale electricity market.
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